Tips of the Trade
- Plant the right plant, in the spot, at the right time—and it will thrive with little help. Plan your garden around this rule.
- Full sun means at least 6 hours of sun and 8 is more like it! Lack of sun creates weak plants.
- 1 cubic yard of compost will cover 1000 sq. ft. with ¼” of compost.
- Soil test in the fall so you can add needed organic amendments before spring (we use A & L Eastern Labs). Almost all problems start with a soil imbalance.
- Improve drainage by opening the subsoil with a garden fork, and add twice as much compost as you think you need. With each passing year your soil will become more self-sufficient and gardening gets easier.
- Hardly anyone can make enough compost for their garden (I don’t know anyone) – so buying it is not a cop out! We purchase dump truck loads.
- The single most important think you can do for your garden is what you don’t do!! Resolve now to not use any synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides.
- Spray your plants with seaweed and fish liquid fertilizer, it is absorbed quickly and makes for super healthy plants. We aim to do it monthly during the growing season.
- Always use natural-based organic fertilizers, the numbers on the bag should never exceed the number 10.
- Cleanup the garden in fall removing any diseased plants and weeds.
- Know your bugs before you squish them! Often times they are actually good bugs that eat bad bugs! Good Bug, Bad Bug is an excellent easy reference to ID insects.
- Protect your most precious gem; your soil. Mulch often and mulch well with any organic product 3-6” deep. It prevents weeds, retains moisture and brings the soil workers to the soil surface to work.
Below are Sweet Pea vines mulched with leaves and pine straw. Planting and mulching in October sets the stage for a carefree spring!
Just a few thoughts going into winter.
Lisa Mason Ziegler is a commercial cut-flower farmer in Newport News, Virginia; she lectures and writes about organic and sustainable gardening. You can email Lisa at firstname.lastname@example.org , call her at 757-877-7159 or visit her website www.shoptgw.com .
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